Types of bronchitis
There are two main types of bronchitis. The first type
of bronchitis is called Acute Bronchitis. Acute bronchitis
is bronchitis that lasts only a few weeks. The second
type of bronchitis is Chronic Bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis
is bronchitis that persists for months. Acute bronchitis
is almost always caused by a virus. Even if you notice
thick yellow or green phlegm, antibiotics are not going
to make you get better faster.
Anytime someone suffers from bronchitis, damage is
done to the bronchi and they need time to heal. Smokers
should limit cigarettes they smoke or quit completely.
Continuing to damage your bronchi over time increases
your chances of permanent damage and disorders. COPD
or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is caused,
in part, from repeated and lengthy damage to the bronchi.
Infectious bronchitis occurs most often during the
winter months. Bacterial bronchitis almost always follows
an upper respiratory infection.
Children who have asthma, are exposed to cigarette
smoke, have allergies, enlarged tonsils/adenoids or
repeated sinus infections are more at risk for bronchitis
Bronchitis can also be caused by environmental pollutant
The symptoms of bronchitis come on at first much like
a cold. Mild fever, body aches and a runny nose. A cough
then presents. The cough from bronchitis can last several
weeks, even after other symptoms disappear.
A doctor can diagnose bronchitis based on the symptoms
alone or he can order special tests. A doctor may want
to send some of your mucus to the lab. Obtaining a sample
is simple. The doctor will have you or your child cough
until some mucus is produced. The mucus is then spit
into a cup to be sent to the lab for testing. This can
also tell your doctor if you have a bacterial o viral
infection. Your doctor may also want to rule out pneumonia.
He/she may also order a chest x-ray.
Treating bronchitis depends on the severity. If a bacterial
infection is present, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
If the infection is viral, plenty of fluids and rest
will probably be recommended. Some doctors may suggest
the use of a cool mist humidifier.
If the infection or difficulty breathing is severe
enough, a doctor may prescribe a bronchodialating nebulizer
treatment or a corticosteroid inhaler. Bronchodialators
work by opening up the air passage ways. Corticosteriods
work by reducing the swelling in the lungs. Inhaled
substances work directly on the source of the problem.
While you can’t 100% prevent getting bronchitis,
there are several steps you can take to minimize the
-Avoid smoking or second hand smoke exposure
-Ask your doctor for a flu shot yearly and for young
children, ask your pediatrician about the pneumonia
-Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizers
-If you notice everyone around you is coughing and
sneezing, it might be a good idea to wear a face mask
Most cases of bronchitis clear up on its own without
seeking medical attention. Lots of fluids and rest,
along with limiting exposure to irritants such as cigarette
smoke is the best treatment for bronchitis.
If you or your child starts coughing up blood, a fever
lasts for several days or the shortness of breath interferes
with sleep and/or activities-call your doctor.
If any symptom becomes severe, seek attention at the
nearest hospital or call 911.
Rebecca Pillar 2008